Curb appeal starts, well, at the curb! Have you noticed mosaic vintage-style addresses and street names appearing around town? Maybe you’ve seen them on the curb, but they also appear on sidewalks and steps and are absolutely beautiful. If you’re lucky, you’ve got one. If not, get on the list!
Some time ago, one of my neighbor’s, Karen Albracht, sent me an email. She had spotted a tiny ad in a local weekly newspaper for a gentleman named Arthur Gonzales, who created mosaic vintage-style addresses.
“I had seen addresses like this in California and thought it was so cool that someone was doing it here,” Albracht said. “I tore out the ad and put it on my fridge for a long time. Then, one day I called and found out more. The single thing about Arthur’s story that struck me was he had a cool idea, taught himself how to do it, and it turned out to be exceptional work.”
Albracht was the first person to have her address created in the neighborhood and was so impressed with Gonzales’ work that she designed a portfolio and brochure for him. Then she put the word out on the app, Nextdoor. Hey, that’s the way Hollywood Heights rolls! Albracht also invited me to meet him because she’s an avid reader of Candysdirt.com and knew this story was right up my alley.
Of course, there’s a real estate connection! Gonzales’ wife is a Realtor and a few years ago asked if he could create a vintage address number for one of her clients. It was a major success, business began rolling in, and suddenly Gonzales had another job in addition to his full-time gig.
As often happens, the stars had been aligning all along. You see, Gonzales grew up helping his dad do tile work. So he had that skillset. Part of his full-time job is to ensure the safety of workers for his company. So, he traverses a good swath of the city on a regular basis. He began noticing remnants of tile street addresses in older parts of Dallas. Then he got curious and started a bit of research, ending up at City Hall in the basement with the City of Dallas archivist John Slate.
“He knows everything,” Gonzales said. “I found out early 20th-century urban developers preferred these mosaic tile street signs over the practice of painted curbs in their efforts to showcase special areas.”
It makes perfect sense. Mosaic vintage-style addresses don’t fade, show up easily when a headlight shines on them, and of course, they are beautiful.
During Gonzales’ research, he came across Gilbert Aguilar, who was with the City of Dallas for over thirty years in the Department of Street Services. He eventually became the director and had the same love of these mosaic street addresses. He wanted a way to document this part of our history, so he curated a collection of items that included salvaged curbs with the original mosaic tile addresses, vintage parking meters, tools, logbooks, and other historical street department items.
So, a lost art is found again, and we all get to enjoy it. You can bet I immediately booked Gonzales for my mosaic vintage-style curb appeal. It takes him about three hours, and he loves doing it. “The self-made part is what appeals to me,” Gonzales said. “I have the skillset, it’s not a service you expect to find, and it’s interesting!”
Remember, this is not his full-time job, so Gonzales fits this in after work or on the weekends. In other words, we know you will want your own curb appeal so reserve your spot now.
And if you’re selling a home, this is going to grab the eye of your potential buyers the moment they arrive!